Where did all the outlets go? The cost of the modern smart home

Smart Home Alexa

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I love gadgets. I always have, even as a small child. I used to take old ’80s ghetto blasters, disassemble them, and see if I could put them back together in working order.

I was one of the first people in our city to get a mobile phone when they became a thing, even though the thing was as big as a brick.

And I invested heavily in my hi-fi system as soon as I was old enough to buy caffeinated beverages.

Now, as someone who spends a lot of time reviewing things, I’m starting to realize that this obsession with gadgets is taking a toll on my household.

I don’t mean the occupants in my family, who, even though they are at first resistant to any new additions to the household, eventually get used to living with them and find them quite convenient, especially those that contribute to the smart home.

I mean, my house itself is telling me that perhaps it’s full.

The problem I have is that I seem to have run out of power outlets to power all of my gadgets. I guess I’m wondering if I’m alone with this issue.

Smart Home Power Outlets for TV
Power hungry devices everywhere | Make Life Click

This is a little bit concerning on many levels.

In the photo above you can see the TV, Xbox, Controller chargers, Nintendo Wii, HiFi Integrated Amp, Amazon Alexa, Apple TV Heater and behind the header is an iRobot Roomba! And that’s just one part of the house.

Anyway, the first main concern is my contribution to the world’s consumerism. Must. Have. Shiny. Bright. Things.

And second main concern is my impact on the world’s energy.

While these devices I’m trying to plug in might be clean devices that don’t emit any carbon directly, there is something that goes into their production, and there is something to be said for the energy that they consume, even if that energy is predominantly green sourced.

It’s worth noting that a lot of these gadgets actually save energy by providing automation, and routines, and using sensors that ensure that things that shouldn’t be powered on are powered off as soon as they’re not in use.

Lights, stereo equipment, televisions, etc.

We recently bought a fish tank, which we put in the garage, which operates as a dual room as it’s carpeted and has an Xbox entertainment area in there. I realized that it then required a heater, a light, and a filter to be plugged in.

That’s 3 outlets I needed, that I didn’t have. It started to dawn on me.

Smart Home speaker
Smart home speaker & wireless charger | Make Life Click

In the above photo we have 3 tablets, smart watch, iPhone, Alexa Echo and a Switchbot Hub with cables for more.

Looking around the house, I realized that pretty much every power outlet in the house is occupied except one in the hallway.

And some of those power outlets are occupied by multi-boards, which then power additional items.

I think there needs to be a review of the number of devices we have in the house.

I expect even if we do review everything that’s in the house, the reality is, these days, people are owning more that requires power.

Even in the kitchen, it’s no longer just an oven, a fridge, and a kettle, then the addition of the microwave.

Now you have the juicer, the smoothie maker, the air fryer, and the charging station for all of the family’s devices that require recharging on a daily basis.

For a typical family home, you then have the Xbox, the Xbox controller charger, the TV, the stereo, and the headset charger, all of which were less common when a lot of the houses in the world were built.

In the living room, you no longer have the three-in-one stereo, and the television, but you have the television, possibly a games console, an integrated amp, and possibly another unit to provide wireless connectivity to your hi-fi.

You may have powered speakers or a Bluetooth speaker.

You may have a smart device. And while we’re talking smart devices, if you have a few of those through the house, well, there’s a whole lot more power outlets that are now taken.

So, I expect that I’m not alone in the quandary of having a house that was built 20 or 30 years ago, and finding that with all of the modern gadgetry available, even if it is low power consumption, non-carbon generating, and powered by green energy, we are finding that the house is running out of power outlets to run a modern household.

Smart Home Power Outlet
The only lonely power outlet left in the house that isn’t used | Make Life Click

More and more homes these days are being built with USB wall outlets, which is fine for now, but if you are running a USB-A or B devices, and modern devices are now using USB-C predominantly, you may find yourself having to upgrade your wall outlets as technology evolves.

Thanks very much, Apple.

Personally, I’m definitely investing in more USB charging hubs that also ensure that trickle charging is available and that they stop charging devices when the devices are full.

Most USB devices don’t require a lot to power them up.

Also, ensure that you’re considering LED lighting wherever possible because of its low power consumption. Has nothing to do with my lack of power outlets in my house but still worth a mention.

Am I alone in this or are there others out there finding that there is a need for more power outlets in their house than perhaps their house was built with?


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